Craving sushi or just need a relaxed and elegant spot for lunch or dinner? It’s time to book Tokyo Dining!
Although we have recommended Tokyo Dining a number of times as a decent spot for catching Illuminations, I’ve never posted my own review of this restaurant. So we made it a priority to head over and dig in — for the sake of the blog.
And while we know it’s a terrific place to stop by for sushi (and it’s rarely crowded), they’ve got plenty on the menu for non-seafood palates as well. Let’s take a look!
Like a growing number of World Showcase restaurants, Tokyo Dining and Teppan Edo now have an outdoor check-in area for busy days. On our visit, it wasn’t that crowded; so the cast member told us to head on upstairs to check in.
We were met by two very gracious Japanese cast members, signed in, and directed to wait in the lobby of the two restaurants.
The quiet, sleek, and spacious waiting area is a welcome respite from the relative activity of the theme parks. It’s very restful.
Once your name is called to be seated, you’ll be directed to one of two main dining rooms at Tokyo Dining.
The first room features an on-stage sushi kitchen, where you can watch chefs as they prepare dishes for guests.
The other dining room features some seriously cool indirect lighting, plus plenty of natural lighting and panoramic views of World Showcase.
Here’s a weird tip: the tables by the windows have super cushy padded chairs, while the others are less comfortable. Just an FYI…and one good reason to request a seat by the window.
Another good reason? Illuminations. Yep; you really can see the fireworks from here (albeit they can be slightly obstructed by trees or people standing on the balcony outside).
We were here during the day, however, so I was happy to take in the views from my cushy window seat.
We had lots of items to choose from, so after taking in our surroundings, it was time to settle down and decide what to order.
When it comes to all the variety of Japanese cuisine, Tokyo Dining offers a plethora of choices. If your party can’t decide between sushi, tempura, or grilled meats, this spot might work well for all of you.
Also, be sure to ask your server for a recommendation — especially if you’re new to Japanese food. Also, photos on the menus help a lot in determining what looks good to you.
Well-known for its sushi, the restaurant offers a small but well-rounded choice of nigiri, inside-out rolls, and maki, in addition to combination platters.
The sushi menu also includes some really beautiful Decoration Sushi, as well as a fun and informative history of the preparation of sushi. It was one of the original fast foods!
For a set price, you can choose from a list of appetizers, entrees, and desserts. The choices, especially for apps and desserts, are pretty limited, however.
The main menu is far more varied. With its wide scope of choices, as well as interesting combinations, it drew our interest over the sushi-only menu and prix fixe options.
The head is aerated and super chilled, so it stays frozen for quite some time. While it’s a little hard to maneuver around, it definitely keeps the temperature of the beer cool and crisp.
We also enjoyed a non-alcoholic frozen cocktail of tropical fruits.
The Mikan, a combination of pineapple, mandarin orange, and lemon juices was a refreshing combo of tart and sweet, and the color was gorgeous!
But one of my favorite refreshers in all of Epcot is the Iced Green Tea. There is nothing quite like it on a hot Florida day.
And since it’s unsweetened and full of antioxidants, it’s practically health food!
I decided to start my meal with one of the chef’s recommendations, the Kakuni.
Braised pork belly is slow cooked in sake, soy sauce, and ginger, and is served with spicy yellow mustard. But really, they had me at pork belly. Some folks will remember this from past Epcot Food and Wine Festivals, and this was flavorful and delicious.
The portion was perfect for each of us to have a taste.
My friend chose the Ginza combination from the Gozen portion of the menu — a recommendation from our server.
A tempura and sushi combination, all Gozen options also include Miso Soup, Somen Salad, Sunomono, and Steamed White Rice.
Everything looked delicious and freshly-prepared. My friend gave kudos for the crunchy, light tempura-battered shrimp and veggies, as well as the beautiful (and delicious!) sushi presentation and flavor.
When it came time for me to choose, I wanted to sample something for the landlubbers out there and went with the Japanese-style Grill side of the menu.
I ordered the Filet Mignon, served with Grated Daikon and Ponzu, and accompanied by Steamed White Rice and Seasonal Vegetables.
While my food was fine, the steak was decidedly overcooked. What should have been a medium-rare temperature came out more like medium to medium well-done. And overall, this didn’t really meet my expectations for a $29.99 filet mignon.
I think that next time I’ll go with one of the tempura meals or the sushi to get a bigger bang for my buck.
While we weren’t wowed by the dessert choices, we decided to go ahead and try the Chocolate Ginger Cake just to round out the meal.
And, believe it or not — we were bowled over! The dark chocolate ganache covering the cake was the best part — a thick, rich, blanket of wonderful!
The cake itself was moist and flavorful, and the thing really had some substance! I was very impressed. It was just enough sweetness to end the meal perfectly.
If you love sushi and are looking for a relaxed and calm break from the theme parks, Tokyo Dining is perfect for you. Also, if you’re traveling with a group and can’t decide on one specific culinary direction, its varied menu might be just what you’re looking for. Where else can you get mixed grill, raw fish, and deep fried options?
Having said that, I would definitely say that Tokyo Dining is a better destination for the sushi lover than the steak lover. If it’s Japanese-style grilling that you’re after, I’d stick to the show and fabulous food (and truly amazing filet mignon!) of Teppan Edo next door.
Also, a quick word on service. The servers at Tokyo Dining — nearly all women when we were there — were incredibly helpful and gracious. But be prepared: they may bow during their interactions with you, which is customary in Japan. This might be upsetting for some, as it can be hard to figure out how to respond: do I bow back? Just say thank you? Trust me, they’re used to it. Just do what you feel comfortable with and all will be well.
What’s your take on Tokyo Dining? Leave a comment and tell us your favorite dishes here!